Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Archive 81 on Netflix.
It looks like the cliffhanger ending to Archive 81 will never be resolved. The Netflix series was recently announced to have been cancelled after only one eight-episode season. The decision is baffling to say the least, given that the series briefly held the Number 1 spot on Netflix's Top 10 in the US during its initial streaming date. Besides, the series had plenty more to draw from its source material.
Archive 81 follows present-day archivist Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie). Dan is hired by a strange benefactor to restore fire-damaged video tapes. The tapes document Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi) in 1994 as she investigates the Visser apartment complex for clues about her past. The more tapes Dan restores, the more horrifying truths he uncovers about the Visser and how the mystery ties into his own family.
Fans are crestfallen over the cancellation, especially considering its source material.
Is there more to 'Archive 81'? The story is still ongoing.
The Archive 81 Netflix show is adapted from a podcast series that began in 2016. The official site describes the series as "a found footage horror podcast about ritual, stories, and sound." The story is still similar to the show, in which an archivist named Dan restores and listens to cassette tapes recorded by one Melody Pendras. While the Netflix show isn't a 1:1 adaptation of the original podcast, the series could have drawn so much more from the source material if it was given the chance.
Since its 2016 premiere, the Archive 81 podcast has gone on for three seasons, expanding the world of Dan and Melody with each new episode. The Season 3 finale was last posted in October 2018, with spin-offs and side stories supplementing the initial plot well into 2019. Though there hasn't been a new episode since then, there was confirmation that more Archive 81 was on the way and that Dan's story in the podcast was not yet over.
But even if the podcast never updates again, that's still two more seasons worth of material that could have been used for the Netflix series. The story of Dan, Melody, and the residents of the Visser had so much more potential, and the show itself seemed to have every intention of continuing.
In the Season 1 finale of the show, Dan searches for a way to reach Melody after the cultists of the Visser manage to enter a portal to another dimension where a terrifying supernatural entity resides.
Once he finds a way into that dimension, he is able to find Melody and tries to bring her back to the outside. Unfortunately, the two of them are forcibly separated in the process. Melody manages to escape and ends up in the present day. Meanwhile, Dan wakes up in 1994, sometime after the Visser apartment burned down.
Despite Dan being stranded in the past, it looks like we might not be able to see how he tries to return. The first (and only) season of Archive 81 is streaming on Netflix.